Gothenburg based poet & musician Leonardo Rosado has devoted himself to “working the collision between sound, poetry and everyday life”. Sometimes those collisions become albums, as is the case with Adrift, a seven song opus released by Oak Editions. One would understandably be tempted to call it ambient drone, but Rosado prefers to label it as “drone expressionism” and “sound poems”. After spending sometime with this gem of a recording, I would find it hard to argue with either of those appellations.
Before diving into the music, it helps to know where the artist was coming from in creating it and Rosado provides a lucid and eloquent explanation for us:
“Every once in awhile real and imaginary stories are the stuff that occupy our thoughts. They populate our dreams at every stage of our biography, they evolve backwards to previous iterations or leap forward to uncharted territories. Adrift was composed trying to capture this set of emotions, images and barely coherent scripts to give a glimpse of my own journey through sensations. The use of sound to convey emotions is perhaps the common denominator in all my work and the search for a universal code language is what I mostly want to achieve.” – Leonardo Rosado
So while the music here does have the characteristics of drone in terms of atmosphere and flow, it can also be viewed as a distillation of human experience into musical form, a portrait of memory and emotion painted in sound. This is evident in the titles of the songs, the emotions bonded into the musical layers, and the grainy textures and environmental sounds which ground it with a sense of place and time.
‘Descent’ opens the album with an earnest solemnity that immediately strikes a pose of introspection and stillness. Rosado then uses the sea as a motif and a metaphor for the next several tracks. ‘Adrift’, with its undulating tones soaked in light amid a soft cacophony of passing cars and seagulls squawking overhead, gives way to the denser twilight sounds of ‘Washed Ashore’ and then the submersed tones of ‘Sinking’. In the next section of the album, ‘Flatline’ breathes melancholy while the stark ‘Ground and Sky’ explores both earthy and airy textures creating a sense of tension which is only resolved by the gentle catharsis of the concluding track, ‘Cleansed’. It is a satisfying arc and an absorbing musical journey.
Adrift is available from Oak Editons in digital and limited edition CD formats and includes a poem written by Rosado centering on the themes expressed in the album.
Featured track: ‘Adrift’